Youngest Helm to pass out at 21 makes local history in Aberdeen
Chloe Urquhart has made local history by becoming the youngest D-class helm to pass out on Aberdeen lifeboat station’s inshore lifeboat, Buoy Woody 85N, at just 21 years of age.
Chloe, originally hailing from Portree on the Isle of Skye, moved to Aberdeen in 2019 to pursue medical studies at Aberdeen University and is currently in her fourth year. She currently also holds the position of Navigator on the city’s all weather lifeboat, Bon Accord.
Chloe's journey with the RNLI began at the age of 17 when she joined the Portree crew, later transferring to Aberdeen upon her relocation. Uniquely, Chloe still serves on both the Portree and Aberdeen crews, allowing her to be on call when visiting home during holidays.
The RNLI holds a special place in Chloe's heart as lifeboats have been an integral part of her family for several generations. Her father is a DLA (Deputy Launch Authority) and her uncle is a retired coxswain of the Portree lifeboat. Her grandmother was a lead fundraiser and an essential part of the ladies' guild too.
Chloe's passion for the sea and maritime activities dates back to her childhood, having been on the water sailing since the age of 10. Her involvement with the RNLI was sparked when she sought a unique volunteering opportunity for her gold Duke of Edinburgh Award, and the idea of saving lives at sea resonated deeply with her. Her father's support and encouragement played a crucial role in steering her towards this remarkable path of service.
Chloe's dedication to the RNLI goes beyond her role as a helm. She also achieved the position of navigator on the all-weather lifeboat in April 2023, further demonstrating her commitment to ensuring the safety of those at sea.
When asked about her motivation for volunteering with the RNLI, Chloe shared: "I love the variety that comes with volunteering for the RNLI – no shout or exercise is ever the same – and we working closely with other emergency services. The range of people that you get the opportunity to meet through training, fundraising, and shouts cannot go unnoticed. Lifelong friends are guaranteed, and the crew is like a big family, able to joke around with each other, but when the pagers go off, our heads are in the game."
One of Chloe's standout memories was her first-ever shout at the end of 2019. She recalls: "I had just finished watching a film with my dad and had gone to bed around midnight. About 20 minutes later, I heard dad yelling that there was a shout. I initially thought he was winding me up, but then I heard his pager going off downstairs, so I got up and got ready.
“At this point, I hadn't even passed my driving test, so he drove me down to the station. I got my kit on, and away we went. The shout was a medivac from Raasay, so we had to transport two paramedics across, one of whom was my friend's dad! It was around 4am before we got home, and I was so buzzed from the night that it took me ages to get to sleep."
Chloe’s remarkable journey in the RNLI is a testament to her unwavering dedication to saving lives at sea and her deep-rooted connection to her maritime heritage.
Cal Reed, Coxswain Mechanic at Aberdeen lifeboat station, commented: “I’m immensely proud of Chloe and everything that she has achieved so far. Her achievements at such a young age serve as an inspiration to us all, reminding us of the incredible individuals who selflessly serve our coastal communities. We have a running joke, that whenever we need to put someone in front of the media, or get a good photo for social, that Chloe will do it. But, really, that’s just a testament to her character. She is always on hand, she’s reliable, she turns out to every shout that she can and without her, there would be a very big hole in our local lifeboat family.
“We have incredible young talent at Aberdeen lifeboat station, and their commitment to saving lives at sea in Aberdeen is second to none.”
RNLI media contacts (in order of contact)
Jamee Kirkpatrick, (Volunteer) Lifeboat Press Officer - Aberdeen, 07521304409, [email protected]
Natasha Bennett, RNLI Regional Media Officer for Scotland, 07826 900639, [email protected]
Martin Macnamara, RNLI Regional Media Manager for Scotland, 07920 365929, [email protected]
Key facts about the RNLI
The RNLI charity saves lives at sea. Its volunteers provide a 24-hour search and rescue service around the United Kingdom and Republic of Ireland coasts. The RNLI operates 238 lifeboat stations in the UK and Ireland and more than 240 lifeguard units on beaches around the UK and Channel Islands. The RNLI is independent of Coastguard and government and depends on voluntary donations and legacies to maintain its rescue service. Since the RNLI was founded in 1824, its lifeboat crews and lifeguards have saved over 142,700 lives.
Learn more about the RNLI
Contacting the RNLI - public enquiries